The Scary Reality of What Our Culture Does to Boys

Dale Partridge
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It took joining a one year group therapy course for me to unlearn and heal from the brokenness our culture has cast upon me.

It took role play, embarrassment, awkward stories, substantial amounts of crying, and humiliating levels of transparency and honesty to finally reach the surface of healing. To begin restoring a healthy definition of manhood.

In recent years, the study of negative cultural influence has been highly focused on girls, but as sociologist and psychiatrist begin to open the box behind what makes men, “men” they are discovering some troubling truths. It leads me to this compelling quote:

“Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

The video below articulated this so well. Within seconds you will be pulled in. By 1:15 you will be nodding your head in agreement and by 2:05 you'll see the masks our boys wear and the power behind them if we don't fix it.

My personal philosophy has been this: As a follower of Jesus, I've always tried to disconnect from who the world told me to be, and reconnect to what He said I am. Not what the church tells me, not what a pastor tells me, but what Scripture shows me. To recognize the generational impact my father's father's father and beyond has made upon me. To know that I am worthy, valued, and perfect just the way that I am.

How did this video make you feel? In the comments below, Tell me one thing our culture should change.

41 COMMENTS

  1. My words exactly…it’s liberating to know that a real man has nothing to prove, that he can live from his heart, that he can feel secure in who God has made him to be. I have learned this later in life, but at times I see the men around me chained with fear…fear that they will appear weak, sensitive, feminine, etc. So terribly sad and heartbreaking. I like your question…I will dig to remember who I was before I was told who I ought to be. Thank you very much.

  2. My words exactly…it’s liberating to know that a real man has nothing to prove, that he can live from his heart, that he can feel secure in who God has made him to be. I have learned this later in life, but at times I see the men around me chained with fear…fear that they will appear weak, sensitive, feminine, etc. So terribly sad and heartbreaking. I like your question…I will dig to remember who I was before I was told who I ought to be. Thank you very much.

  3. Wow! This is so true even in my culture. As a mum of two boys sometimes it is hard to allow my kids become emotional and express themselves without a man saying…No.. Don’t do that…Boys don’t cry. No wonder we have so many twisted men all grown up but acting like kids because so much is missing. Great Job guys! As a coach and speaker who spends time with kids..i will definitely look for ways to change this akward behaviour.

  4. Wow! This is so true even in my culture. As a mum of two boys sometimes it is hard to allow my kids become emotional and express themselves without a man saying…No.. Don’t do that…Boys don’t cry. No wonder we have so many twisted men all grown up but acting like kids because so much is missing. Great Job guys! As a coach and speaker who spends time with kids..i will definitely look for ways to change this akward behaviour.

  5. Our culture has similarly imposed expectations on its girls, resulting in the same feelings of loneliness, disconnect, and failure! Furthermore, girls in our culture have been taught to see other girls as competitors (for a man I assume), thereby separating us from the emotional freedom and security that can only be found in girl friend! It’s sad that we try to press our children into the molds of our choosing rather than nurture and encourage them to be themselves!

  6. Our culture has similarly imposed expectations on its girls, resulting in the same feelings of loneliness, disconnect, and failure! Furthermore, girls in our culture have been taught to see other girls as competitors (for a man I assume), thereby separating us from the emotional freedom and security that can only be found in girl friend! It’s sad that we try to press our children into the molds of our choosing rather than nurture and encourage them to be themselves!

  7. I am
    really glad that this video was done. I recently had a conversation with a
    friend about men and how society has created “rules” they should live
    by. I know this applies to women and men, but it is much accepting for women to
    express their feelings than men. The issue begins when men do express their
    feelings and are often looked down on because they are being way too emotional.
    I often hear my girlfriends say, “He was being way too emotional. I
    just can’t deal with that, so I broke up with him.” It is clear this is
    becoming an issue in our culture and it is slowly getting into women’s head
    that we should not accept men that show their emotional side. As a society we
    need to work together to change this negative perspective. As humans, I truly believe
    we just want someone to listen to us and understand-That’s the key!

  8. I am
    really glad that this video was done. I recently had a conversation with a
    friend about men and how society has created “rules” they should live
    by. I know this applies to women and men, but it is much accepting for women to
    express their feelings than men. The issue begins when men do express their
    feelings and are often looked down on because they are being way too emotional.
    I often hear my girlfriends say, “He was being way too emotional. I
    just can’t deal with that, so I broke up with him.” It is clear this is
    becoming an issue in our culture and it is slowly getting into women’s head
    that we should not accept men that show their emotional side. As a society we
    need to work together to change this negative perspective. As humans, I truly believe
    we just want someone to listen to us and understand-That’s the key!

  9. My teenager says that he likes that he is like me but really wishes he wasn’t plagued with the emotions he got from me. I tell him that those emotions are a gift and that he should embrace them because many men hide them away because they are ashamed to have them. He is a tough kid who plays all the sports and feels like these emotions are what hold him back from being strong. I tell him that having the power to show these emotions is what makes him strong, self worth and acceptance takes more strength than bench pressing or taking a tackle. It’s going to take “the village” to change the worlds men from feeling this way!

  10. My teenager says that he likes that he is like me but really wishes he wasn’t plagued with the emotions he got from me. I tell him that those emotions are a gift and that he should embrace them because many men hide them away because they are ashamed to have them. He is a tough kid who plays all the sports and feels like these emotions are what hold him back from being strong. I tell him that having the power to show these emotions is what makes him strong, self worth and acceptance takes more strength than bench pressing or taking a tackle. It’s going to take “the village” to change the worlds men from feeling this way!

  11. It is rare I see a video that pulls raw emotion to the surface, but this one did, thank you. I live in an area that values sports above anything else, especially for boys. We need to examine the value parents are having in sports and show value in other “things” such as personal value, family togetherness, love of God, and many other values.

  12. As a woman, this is very insightful in helping me understand how the men in my life may feel and also now how to encourage authenticity and be supportive of what that may look like. Thank you!

  13. As a woman, this is very insightful in helping me understand how the men in my life may feel and also now how to encourage authenticity and be supportive of what that may look like. Thank you!

  14. Thanks for sharing this Dale. There’s a lot here that echoes and resonates with my own personal experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the complete version when available. (Please post if you see it first!) The question of how masculine identities are constructed goes to the heart of some of the most important issues that we face as a globalized society today. While I’m cool with being a ‘follower of Jesus’, I’m not sure that the canonical bible nor mainstream Christian tradition really provide us with the necessary tools or insights to resolve the intergenerational trauma which has been passed down to us by our foremothers and fathers. After all, Jesus was victimized by the same institutionalized power structure which continues to crucify men and boys for being anything other than what functions within the context of the dominant predatory culture.

  15. Thanks for sharing this Dale. There’s a lot here that echoes and resonates with my own personal experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the complete version when available. (Please post if you see it first!) The question of how masculine identities are constructed goes to the heart of some of the most important issues that we face as a globalized society today. While I’m cool with being a ‘follower of Jesus’, I’m not sure that the canonical bible nor mainstream Christian tradition really provide us with the necessary tools or insights to resolve the intergenerational trauma which has been passed down to us by our foremothers and fathers. After all, Jesus was victimized by the same institutionalized power structure which continues to crucify men and boys for being anything other than what functions within the context of the dominant predatory culture.

  16. This is an amazing trailer i have a four year old son and itvscares me to death to think that someday he will think that it isnt ok to cry because he’s boy that he has to hold all in and that’s wrong i always make sure and let him know that it’s ok have feelings and get upset

  17. This is an amazing trailer i have a four year old son and itvscares me to death to think that someday he will think that it isnt ok to cry because he’s boy that he has to hold all in and that’s wrong i always make sure and let him know that it’s ok have feelings and get upset

  18. I hate that boys have to feel like this. It reminds me a little of the saying ‘you are who you are when no-one is watching’; we need to be more like who we are before we leave the house with our masks on.

    This is one of the benefits of having faith in God – as an Ahmadi, my dad always taught us to live by the Qur’an and to make sure we were following the teachings of God rather than the world.

  19. I hate that boys have to feel like this. It reminds me a little of the saying ‘you are who you are when no-one is watching’; we need to be more like who we are before we leave the house with our masks on.

    This is one of the benefits of having faith in God – as an Ahmadi, my dad always taught us to live by the Qur’an and to make sure we were following the teachings of God rather than the world.

  20. I am in college and currently studying this and it is so sad that we as a society are so worried about what others think and what is socially except-able that we are willing to change who we are. Majority of people don’t realize the impact that even just one simple statement can have on another person let alone the impact it has on our children who are looking to us for the answers.

  21. I am in college and currently studying this and it is so sad that we as a society are so worried about what others think and what is socially except-able that we are willing to change who we are. Majority of people don’t realize the impact that even just one simple statement can have on another person let alone the impact it has on our children who are looking to us for the answers.

      • This is supposed to be showing that people should be able to be themselves without fear, yet you are criticizing Ashley because she misspelled a word. You should sow support for others instead of putting them down!
        God help YOU.

  22. This truly made me sad! I will share this with people I know to spread the awareness and understanding. Thank you for sharing this!

  23. This truly made me sad! I will share this with people I know to spread the awareness and understanding. Thank you for sharing this!

  24. I’m a moroccan and i just wanted to say that, unfortunately, boys in our country are told the same things that were mentioned in this video.

  25. Without being too invasive, would you be willing to share the counseling group you were part of, or share recommendations? No pressure! Thanks! 🙂

  26. I think our culture should begin to value both principles, feminine and masculine, in our universe. We are a combination and when they are de-valued we as humans suffer. it seems like a fundamental or ancient truth, no?

  27. We should allow boys/men show their feelings and be accepting of that. Also, make the “be a man” when many don’t what that looks like and their trying to figure it out on their own.

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